Horror lost a true pioneer recently, with the passing of mastermind Wes Craven at age 76. He’s most famous for giving us horror icon Freddy Krueger and for directing the Scream saga, but what about his other films? Let’s look at some of his lesser known works, those times when he broke away from the norm and gave us something unexpectedly awesome.
What I’m presenting is a small portion of this man’s legacy — a legacy that cannot be done justice in a small article or by a guy called “Moan4stallone.” So out of respect for the man, I’m writing this one as David Batarseh, who first watched a VHS copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street when he was seven years old, and has been haunted by it ever since. Mission accomplished, Mr. Craven.
Red Eye (2005)
A lot of people were questioning Wes’ credibility as a horror director in the mid-2000s, due to his lackluster werewolf film Cursed. So what did he do? What he does best. He changed the game, jumping ship on the horror genre and giving us a legitimately good thriller, featuring True Detective starlet Rachel Mcadams and pre-Scarecrow/post-28 Days Later actor Cillian Murphy.
Swamp Thing (1982)
Comic book adaptations were practically unheard of when Wes Craven decided to follow up his Amish horror film — yes, you read that correctly, his Amish horror film Deadly Blessing — with an amazing take on DC’s Swamp Thing. You know your film is good when Roger Ebert compares it to Bride of Frankenstein.
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Sure, many vampire films existed before Wes Craven came around, but how many featured Eddie Murphy in the lead role, a biter from the borough? Exactly. It’s a 90s re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with an urban flare and the always funny John Witherspoon.
Music of the Heart (1999)
Master of horror decides to make a film about a high school violin teacher in Harlem? Yup, and you know what? It worked, it worked very well, and it earned lead actress Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination (which I believe is a first for a horror director). The movie also sports a pretty great NSYNC song of the same name on its soundtrack.
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
This film holds a special place in my heart due to my mother introducing me to it back in 2006. Being a huge zombie fan, I have no idea how I missed this genre classic, a realistic take on the undead set against the backdrop of a Haitian revolution. Bill Pullman combined with some truly terrifying imagery to make this film what I believe is Wes Craven’s finest work.
16 thoughts on “5 Fantastic Films for Remembering Wes Craven”
Scream by far my absolute favorite of Wews Cravens work and i really enjoyed the 4th entry, clever opening with some great stars and a great take on how modern technology has progressed
Woman “Who is this?”
Ghostface “NOT an app”
Also Alison Brie plays a right heartless bitch, whats not to love 😉
Glad I am not the only one who thought the fourth one was not bad and pretty enjoyable given its up hill battle to be made. Plus two of the female leads are in my two current favorite thigs; Until Dawn and American Horror Story.
God damn those Red Eye trailers. They sure did their best to make us believe that we were in for some supernatural horror. I remember being extremely excited when I went to watch it and came out very confused at the end. It was a very strange but not unpleasant surprise. I haven’t seen the movie for years but I remember it being quite good. It’s a shame it wasn’t released after Batman since it probably would have been more successful at the box office.
This list really shows that Craven wasn’t afraid to branch out into unfamiliar territory. You have to admire that about someone.
He really was a master of horror and speaking of that, did you ever watch that show on showtime back in the day? Strange he was the only one who didnt contribute an episode. Guess we will never know why sadly.
Yeah, I watched both seasons of Masters. There were a few great ones mixed in with a dumping ground of shit. The ones that were good were really good though. I think the best one may have been Cigarette Burns by Carpenter. I actually got the chance to meet Carpenter and tell him he had the best of the bunch. Pretty awesome moment in my life.
The best season was the unofficial third season called “Fear Itself.” Article coming soon (wink), but it has the best episodes per season then the first two combined.
It shows you how little I know about Wes Craven. I had no idea he directed any of these movies. Solid article M4S.
Thank you sir and I am hoping that Serpent and the Rainbow gets a monday night movie in October.
First time Oscar nominated actress from a horror director? Roman Polanski’s actresses WON for their performances in horror movies. Rosemary’s Baby erryday ya’ll.
You know what, you are one hundred percent correct! Totally forgot about that one but given his past crimes lets just say it was Wes.
Deadly Friend, you guys. check it out.
Sadly have not seen it but will now, thanks brotha!
it’s…. something alright. not even what I would call a good movie, but a very entertaining one.
The only non-Elm Street and non-Scream, Craven-directed film I’ve seen is Red Eye, so thanks for the list. I should watch these film as soon as I can, along with The Last House on the Left and The Hill Have Eyes (only seen the remake).
For me, Wes Craven introduced me to the horror genre, thanks to Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and Scream 1-3. With these films, I always had an interest and love for horror films.
I’m glad that I did get to see Scream 4, which is now his final film, on the big screen (too young for Scream 1-3), and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it wasn’t anything too revolutionary, but I had a lot of fun with it. Plus, seeing and hearing Ghostface again is good for me.
Last house on the left is a classic but its score is kinda hard to listen to by todays horror score standards but the hills have eyes still holds up and is great! Scream 4 was doomed to fail just based on the amount of time that had passed; but it is still a great Scream film and id rank it as second only to the original. Fun Fact: Wes ran out of money while making a sequel to Hills have eyes, so he spliced in old scenes from the original to complete the film!